Vinyl records and albums are making a comeback and I am here for it.
My parents were big record collectors when I was growing up in the 1980s. We had a full turntable setup and bookshelves full of albums, but by the 1990s compact discs took over and my parents eventually sold their record collection, replacing their favorites with CDs. Eventually, we graduated to MP3 players and iPods to where we are today: streaming services such as Spotify where all our favorite songs are right in the palms of our hands.
About 10 years ago, I started to collect vinyl records again. I was at a yard sale and found an old Billy Joel album and took it home for 25 cents. I didn't have a record player to play it, but it didn't stop me from buying the nostalgic record and eventually, many more. Five years ago, I purchased a new, portable record player so I could play my collection but the sound was terrible. I've upgraded since then and now not only am I listening to records, my kids are, too.
The resurgence of vinyl is really interesting to me. In a digital age, it doesn't make sense that more people are buying records today than ever before, but they are. Record sales are continuing to rise and last year, the industry sold over 40 million vinyl records, the highest number since 1988.
The majority of those sales? New artists of today.
Mega stars such as Taylor Swift have partnerships with Target for limited vinyl releases that sell out right away. While old albums by classic artists do continue to sell, it's the new music that is making up most of the album vinyl sales in the still-growing market.
So, where can you start your collection?  Major retailers such as Target and Walmart carry a large selection as well as stores such as Newbury Comics and Spencer Gifts.  My children and I, however, have four local record stores that we visit often. These stores have a great mix of preowned records and new releases with both new and older artists.
Even though you can grab an album while you're doing your grocery shopping, take a trip to one of the stores below for the full experience.
Purchase Street Records
53 Popes Island
New Bedford
The new location of Purchase Street doesn't disappoint. Along with a hefty vinyl selection, Purchase Street offers CDs as well as memorabilia and has a knowledgeable staff great for talking music. They also keep customers connected with local music events and shows and sell merch with the Purchase Street logo on it. If you get someone a gift certificate, it comes in a traditional jewel case like the CDs we know and love, a nice touch for the music lover.
Spinnaker Records
596 Main Street
Right on the main road in downtown Hyannis, Spinnaker has been an independent record store for over 35 years. It's the largest store we visit. You can spend hours flipping through the vast inventory of records. Spinnaker seems to have the most variety of artists from Elton John to Jay Z and our favorite part of the store is that there is a ton of special, limited edition boxed sets that are great to look at. Spinnaker also has a great preowned selection with some prices as low as $4. The shop also sells pop culture items on T-shirts, stickers and pins. We spend hours at this one and it's worth the drive.
In Your Ear Records
28 Market St.
Warren, Rhode Island
In Your Ear recently moved from one location to another, so make sure you head over to the 28 Market St. location. In Your Ear is neat and clean, and on many occasions, I have seen staff carefully cleaning vintage albums that have come in to sell. There is always great music playing while we shop and while the inventory seems smaller than the other stores we visit, the shop has some of those really-hard-to-find albums you may be looking for.
Sunset Records 
1232 Wilbur Avenue
Believe me, I know how lucky I am to have a record store right in my hometown and we visit it often. A hidden gem that has been sandwiched between changing stores for decades, Sunset Records is one of our favorites. Reasonably priced, the store mostly sells preowned vinyl and cassette tapes with few, if any, new albums and artists. Sunset specializes in '60s and '70s classic rock, soul and jazz and the owner will play anything on the house turntable if you ask. To me, Sunset Records is like discovering all your favorites at a yardsale in the summer: special finds, great prices and friendly people.
Fun Fact: According to Billboard, the No. 5 top-selling vinyl album in the United States last year was the Fleetwood Mac album Rumours, which sold almost a quarter of a million copies. It was first released in 1977.

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